Posted on

MIDI Crossword Puzzle

MIDI Crossword Puzzle
MIDI Crossword Puzzle

Download Here:
(PDF) MIDI Crossword Puzzle Download

Here’s a challenge for all you MIDI fans out there.   Download this crossword puzzle and give it a shot.  If you are able to actually complete it, comment below and let me know that you did it.  I’ll be interested to see if you think it is difficult or easy. Certainly some of the clues are easier than others. But some are pretty hard.

If you guys like it, I’ll try to come up with more fun stuff like this in the future.

I’ll post the answer sheet once I’ve heard from some of you about it. Perhaps in a week or so. Or maybe sooner if there’s a demand for it.

So don’t wait! Comment below once you’ve tried it.

Happy Crosswording!

P.S. Go ahead and post this to your Facebook or Twitter.  Or email it to friends who might be interested.  Test their knowledge and see if they can finish it without your help.

Posted on

Can MIDI be used for education?

MIDI Education
MIDI Education

As we know MIDI can be used for fun and for composing music, but are there any educational benefits? Not surprisingly the answer is “yes”. MIDI is quickly being recognized as an excellent educational tool too.

There are two reasons why MIDI is a good educational tool. First, because the technology is becoming much more affordable, schools and institutions are able to afford the computers and MIDI instruments. Second, the power and flexibility of MIDI allows instructors and students to try new things easily.

Using MIDI to learn how to play a piece of music or an instrument.

Since each instrument in a MIDI performance is on a separate track from the rest, it is easy to listen to (or print out) just one individual instrument line and study it so that you can replicate and play that same part yourself. Plus if the piece of music is in the wrong key, it’s simple to transpose the part to the desired key and continue playing.

The educational value of isolating single voices in this manner is amazing. Imagine being able to select only the flute playing out of a complicated piece of music. Not only can you listen to that part individually, it’s very easy to print the isolated musical line onto paper in any key you desire. This is a wonderful tool for teachers as well as students.

Experimenting with various instruments.

The feature of being able to mute voices goes even further. Perhaps you are composing a new piece or experimenting with an existing piece but it just doesn’t sound right. With the power of MIDI you have the ability to change the sound of any instrument with ease and replay the piece.

Perhaps you recorded it with a flute but would like to know what an oboe would sound like. Easy. Simply use your MIDI editing software and select the voice that you wish to change. Once selected changing the instrument and save your work. Now when you replay the piece it will have the new instrument added so you can judge the effect.

Play with a band.

After practicing by yourself for a while it is always nice to try your skills playing with other instruments. Perhaps you wish to ensure that you can jam smoothly with others, that your playing of a piece is technically accurate, or just want to hear what the piece will sound like when played with a band.

The solution is easy. Select a MIDI file and mute the voice that you personally intend to play. Then replay the MIDI piece as you normally would – but instead, you play the part that’s missing. If you desire, you may be able to record yourself playing and compare it to the master recording and see how close you came to duplicating the part.


Record and edit your performance

A MIDI Sequencer is a great way to evaluate your own progress, or even to study how someone else plays. A person can record their efforts and email to transfer their file to you. Once you have their MIDI file you can play it back to find any problems and advise on how to correct them. This is great for music teachers.

If the piece is to be used as is, you can also edit out any imperfections! If you play a wrong note, you can just change it using your sequencer’s editing tools. And if you find you just can’t play fast enough to keep up with the tempo, you can slow it down for recording and speed it back up for playback.

Collaborative playing.

Like most musicians, you probably have a circle of friends that you used to jam with back in the day. Wouldn’t it be nice to get them all together again for old times sake? This may not be physically possible to do with people moving and such, but MIDI and the Internet provide a perfect solution

Perhaps you, as the lead player for the group, could lay down a single MIDI track. Then you email the piece to one of your friends and have them add their track to the file as they play along with you. Then they pass it along to another friend. Soon all of your friends will have added their parts to the piece and you will have a complete jam session recorded without ever having to travel.

As you have seen, and probably found out from experimenting yourself, MIDI is an excellent tool for both educational purposes and advancement of your talents. The possible uses for MIDI are only limited by your imagination.

Posted on

Using MIDI files with an external sound source

How to Connect MIDI Devices
Connect MIDI Devices

How to use these kinds of files in your keyboard and/or standalone midi sequencers.

What is a MIDI file?
MIDI is a means of communicating music information among synthesizers, keyboards, computers and other electronic sound equipment through digital messages. Unlike wave files, MIDI files do not contain any sound. Instead they contain commands that tell the receiving unit exactly what note to play, what sound it should be played with, how loud it is, and how long to hold the note on.

What this means is that when you get a MIDI file, you are getting a file that contains what the composer did on his keyboard. The file is fairly small because it contains no actual sounds or voice information. To play back this file you need either a keyboard with both a MIDI interface and a floppy drive or a computer with MIDI capable sound card.

Playing back a MIDI file.
Playing back a MIDI file is fairly simple to do. In most cases it is a matter of putting a disk that contains a MIDI file into the floppy drive of your keyboard, selecting the file to be played and playing it. Since MIDI is such a common standard, it truly is this easy.

Playing MIDI files is extremely simple, but getting the most out of the play back can take a little more work. Consider, for example, playing your MIDI file back on a PC with a standard sound card. You will quickly find that the sounds coming from your computer may be a little flat or lifeless compared when the same piece is played on a keyboard.

The reason for this is found in how sound cards work. Sound cards have a wave table IC that contains the sampled sound of many instruments. Due to the expense and work involved in sampling these sounds few standard sound cards contain sampled sounds that are even close to the quality found in most keyboards or sound modules.

A keyboard has been designed to reproduce high quality sounds. A sound card has been designed to produce sound, not necessarily “high quality”. So what can you do about this? The answer is simple, connect the MIDI output of your sound card, to the MIDI input on your keyboard, and set your computer to play the MIDI file out to the keyboard. Now when you play back the same musical piece, the keyboard will play it with its full sound compliment instead of using your low quality sound card sounds.

Also worth noting… there are available now, high quality sound cards with “synth” engines built into them. These cards are typically much more expensive than your average generic sound card though. Consult your local music store for more information about this.

How do I connect MIDI devices?
Connecting MIDI devices is a fairly simple task. The standard cable for MIDI is a 5-pin cable with a small round connector. This cable carries the digital commands from one unit to another.

To connect the MIDI devices start with the master unit. All MIDI units will have jacks labeled as IN, OUT and most have a THROUGH. Take a suitably sized MIDI cable and go from the OUT of the main unit to the IN on the slave unit. Then take a second MIDI cable and go from the IN of the first unit to the OUT on the slave unit. (Note: the Out from one unit cannot connect to the OUT of the other. This will not work. An OUT must always connect to an IN).

Now that the digital command links have been established you can begin to establish the audio connections. Start with the slave device and run a patch cable from the audio out to the audio input on your mixer or amp.

These simple connections are all that are required. Now you can use the main unit to cause any of the other unit(s) to play music as you see fit. Remember the shorter the cable run the better the signal quality will be. And it is not recommend to run more than 4 or 5 units in a MIDI chain as the signal can become weak and unstable.

Further details.
The exact details for playing back MIDI files on your keyboard, sequencer or drum machine will vary with different models. While the basic steps are usually the same, the best source of instruction is yours owners manual.

If your instrument has a disk drive, normally you would start by saving a MIDI file on a standard DOS formatted disk. After the file is saved, you insert the disk into the floppy drive on your digital instrument. Use the built in floppy drive controls to select the MIDI file on the disk and then select play.

Playing back a MIDI file on your PC may be slightly more complicated but still is very simple. The first step is to ensure that the MIDI drivers for your sound card or MIDI ports are installed and enabled. The information that came with your sound card will tell you how to this properly.

On a PC it is very common to use some sort of music editing software to play back or modify a MIDI file. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to install your music editing software and ensure that it works with your sound card.

Once the software and hardware are ready you can begin having fun. Insert the disk with the MIDI file into your PC’s floppy drive and open the file with your music editing software. The software will allow you to play or change the file as needed.

As you can see, thanks to industry standards, using MIDI files is fairly simple to do. You will be amazed with the possibilities that are opened up once you begin working with MIDI files.

Posted on

What is MIDI?

MIDI Connections Chart
MIDI In/Out through a sound card or direct via USB connection

M.I.D.I. – Musical Instrument Digital Interface

Basically, MIDI is a computer language used in networking two or more devices together. The specific devices we are most often referring to when discussing MIDI are musical computers, like synthesizers or signal processors. Essentially this means that you can hook up two musical devices and have them “communicate” with each other.

Some Basic Concepts
You don’t need to understand nuclear fusion to get a grasp on this MIDI stuff, there are just a few basic concepts you have to grasp.

  1. MIDI information IS NOT audio information. This is a hang up for many people who are just starting out in the music and audio arena. MIDI is merely a set of numerical instructions that are sent and received between the devices. The musical devices then translate this data into meaningful commands. So when a MIDI command is sent from one device to another, the signal is telling the second device which notes to play, how long to hold them, which sounds to use… etc.
  2. You need to understand how the flow of MIDI information works. MIDI data is sent out of the “OUT” port, MIDI data is received at the “IN” port. So for example if you want to send a MIDI data from a sequencer to a synthesizer the cables would connect on the OUT of the sequencer (because info is coming out) to the IN of the synthesizer (because the synth is receiving info). This can be confusing at first because the temptation is to plug the IN of one machine directly into the IN of another. But if you do that, you are not going to get any sound…. Ever.
  3. Channels – MIDI data transmits on 16 different channels. This allows for 16 different sets of MIDI data to be sent at once, which means a sequencer could control up to 16 different instruments at one time. Typically each instrument would be sent separately on a different channel. For example, drum track information is usually sent on channel 10 and so would play back on channel 10, Bass guitar sounds are usually on channel 2, synth on 4 and so on. You just have to make sure that the synthesizer that is receiving the channels has the correct sound selected for that channel.

Because MIDI does not carry with it the actual audio sound data, but just the note commands, midi files are extremely light and compact. A large number of songs can take up a relatively small amount of space on a disk or hard drive. This reason, along with it’s versatility makes MIDI an ideal language for almost any musician, and especially those who are on the road for performances or deal in large volumes of music.